Energy Intake and Early Lactation Milk Production

Cows need energy for maintenance, daily activities, foetal growth, ideal body condition and milk production. Among all the nutrients energy is regarded as the most vital nutrient.

Appetite and feed intake capacity build up gradually after calving. At this stage daily energy intake from pasture and forage most likely to be inadequate compared to daily energy demand. So, cows are naturally equipped to lose some body condition. However, excessive body condition loss to support milk production may push to cow to negative energy 
balance (NEB). NEB in early lactation has downstream consequence of low conception rate. Peak milk production happens around 6-8 weeks after calving, but not until about 10-12 weeks into lactation that cow’s appetite reaches its maximum.

The importance of peak early lactation production is essential in terms of setting up the rest of the lactation. An extra 1 litre/day during the peak can equate to an extra 200 litres over the whole lactation.

To help prevent milk fat depression:

•  Offer high quality pasture for grazing. Well-preserved good quality silage can complement the daily ration of EL cows.

•  At dairy shed provide a high energy (13MJ/kg dry matter) dairy pellet adequately balanced with digestible protein, sufficient calcium, magnesium, rumen buffer and an ionophore. At least five kilograms per cow daily should be offered to deliver extra energy needed by EL cow.


For further assistance call CopRice Nutritionist and Field Representative to maximize production and herd fertility this season.